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Implementing the Question Formulation Technique in a First-Year Composition course throughout the Pandemic - Kevin Augustine & Jacqueline Hollcraft

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Kevin Augustine
Research & Instruction Librarian,
Jacqueline Hollcraft
English Department Lecturer,
California State Unive...

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 Question Formulation
 ACRL & Question Formulation
 WPA & Question Formulation
 Question Formulation Challenges
 Stan...

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• Question formulation is a knowledge practice identified in the
frame, Research as Inquiry, by the Association of College...

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Implementing the Question Formulation Technique in a First-Year Composition course throughout the Pandemic - Kevin Augustine & Jacqueline Hollcraft

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Presented at LILAC 2022

Presented at LILAC 2022

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Implementing the Question Formulation Technique in a First-Year Composition course throughout the Pandemic - Kevin Augustine & Jacqueline Hollcraft

  1. 1. Kevin Augustine Research & Instruction Librarian, Jacqueline Hollcraft English Department Lecturer, California State University, Stanislaus
  2. 2.  Question Formulation  ACRL & Question Formulation  WPA & Question Formulation  Question Formulation Challenges  Stanislaus State  Campus Background  First-Year Student Population & Support  Project Purpose & Goals  Question Formulation Unit  Overview  Goals & Outcomes  Lesson Plan  Question Formulation Technique Overview  Sample Instruments  Timelines: In-person, Online, Hybrid (ENGL 1001), In-person  Assessment  Observations
  3. 3. • Question formulation is a knowledge practice identified in the frame, Research as Inquiry, by the Association of College and Research Libraries to assist learners who are developing their information literate abilities to: • “deal with complex research by breaking complex questions into simple ones, limiting the scope of investigations;” • “formulate questions for research based on information gaps or on reexamination of existing, possibly conflicting, information” (Association of College and Research Libraries, 2016).
  4. 4. • Question formulation is identified in the habit of mind, Curiosity, by the Council of Writing Program Administers, National Council of Teachers of English and National Writing Project to: • “use inquiry as a process to develop questions relevant for authentic audiences within a variety of disciplines;” • “conduct research using methods for investigating questions appropriate to the discipline” (Council of Writing Program Administrators et al., 2011).
  5. 5. • According to Scharf & Dera (2021), question formulation issues for college students involve: • a weak connection between having a question and doing research to only gather information to summarize; • trouble isolating the main research question in studies and formulating their own research questions; • inability to develop a researchable question given their constraints; • and faculty assuming students are knowledgeable about their field of study and able to find evidence in their discipline.
  6. 6. • As Hofer et al. (2019) state, “...asking good questions is a skill that can be taught and improved in order to overcome typical feelings of dread, anxiety, and fear and tap the potential for exploration, wonder, and productivity.”
  7. 7. • CSU, Stanislaus, located in California's Central Valley, is one of twenty-three public universities in the California State University system. • Just over 1,000 full-time and part-time faculty and staff serve a diverse student body of nearly 10,000 students. • Designated Hispanic-serving Institution by the U.S. Department of Education. • One of twelve public universities nationwide that demonstrates exceptional performance in improving retention and graduation rates (California State University, Stanislaus, 2021).
  8. 8. ● 951 first-year students enrolled in Fall 2021 (Office of Institutional Effectiveness and Analytics, n.d.). ● Students in sections of ENGL 1006 / 1007 are also in the Freshman Success Program at Stan State. ● Similar to the First Generation Scholarship Programme here at Manchester Metropolitan University.
  9. 9. ● Implement information literacy instruction in first-year composition courses through co- curricular embedded librarianship with Jacqueline Hollcraft, English Department Lecturer. ● Engage first-year students in metacognition of their information-seeking and retrieval processes through multiple instruction sessions over an academic year. ● Increase in first-year students a sense of belonging, agency, and empowerment in Stan State’s academic culture, which includes confidence in their research process (goal of ENGL 1006/7). ● Scaffold, record, and qualitatively assess research skills development through student-writing. ● Engage in faculty/librarian co-curricular development and collaboration throughout an academic year.
  10. 10. • We were inspired by Hofer, Hanick, & Townsend’s (2019) book, Transforming Information Literacy Instruction: Threshold Concepts in Theory and Practice, and in particular, “I Am an Expert - Ask Me Anything” activity, which formed the framework for the library instruction session. • Pick an artifact that represents an area we possess unexpected and varied expertise yet is unfamiliar to students. • Share it with the class and have students conduct the Question Formulation Technique on the artifact. • Facilitate a discussion where students shared their questions, and we attempted to answer them. • By sharing their questions and demonstrating a limited range in answering on our behalf, we discuss how unanswerable questions lead to new avenues of inquiry.
  11. 11. • Engage students in “Research as Inquiry” rather than seeking sources to match a premature thesis statement. • Provide a method to approach unfamiliar topics. • Establish relevant questions to narrow scope of research. • Develop confidence in an iterative method that carries over into their everyday and academic research processes. • Explore a method that might provide an intervention to address college students’ question formulation issues.
  12. 12. • Front-load the QFT with an in-class lecture and practice in groups on everyday life topics. • Conduct “I Am an Expert - Ask Me Anything” activity during a library instruction session with an artifact. • The artifact is a short video on the wool weaving process from the Isle of Skye. • Provide either a post-session activity where they conduct the QFT on topics related to ENGL 1007 larger assignments or discussion on the QFT in Canvas.
  13. 13. • The Question Formulation Technique (QFT) is an evidence-based strategy to produce, improve, and strategize formulating questions that help stimulate forms of thinking: • Divergent - explore multiple solutions • Convergent - deduce to a single solution • Metacognitive - develop self-awareness (Rothstein & Santana, 2014).
  14. 14. Question Formulation Technique: Overview 1. Question Focus (QFocus) 2. Produce Your Questions ✓ Follow the rules ✓ Number your questions 3. Improve Your Questions ✓ Categorize questions as Closed or Open-ended ✓ Change questions from one type to another 4. Strategize ✓ Prioritize your questions ✓ Action plan or discuss next steps ✓ Share 5. Reflect Rules 1. Ask as many questions as you can 2. Do not stop to discuss, judge or answer 3. Record exactly as stated 4. Change statements into questions Closed-ended: Answered with “yes,” “no,” or one word. Open-ended: Require longer explanation Note. Retrieved from "The Right Questions" by D. Rothstein and L. Santana, 2014, Instruction That Sticks, 72(2). Copyright 2014 by the Right Question Institute.
  15. 15. QFT Instrument in Google Slides QFT Instrument in Qualtrics
  16. 16. 03/03 Library Session: QFT 02/27 In-class lecture and group activity Discussion Post: QFT Library Session: QFT In-class lecture and group activity 03/03 03/08 03/12 Instruments: Group activity: Paper handout Library Session activity: Qualtrics Instruments: Group activity: Google Slides Library Session activity: Google Slides Discussion Post: Canvas
  17. 17. 10/25 Post-session activity: QFT 10/22 Library Session: QFT 10/20 In-class lecture and group activity Discussion Post: QFT Library Session: QFT 02/25 03/02 In-class lecture and group activity Instruments: Group activity: Google Slides Library Session activity: Google Slides Post-session Activity: Qualtrics Instruments: Group activity: Google Slides Library Session activity: Google Slides Post- Session Activity: Qualtrics Discuss ion Post: Canvas 02/23 02/25 Post-session activity: QFT
  18. 18. Student Feedback: Feedback Location: “QFT activity was helpful because it helped me focus my topic down so I wont cover too much in little time.” Sp2021 Course Evaluation, Q6: “Which assignments or activities were most useful for you in your development of your writing process?” “I enjoyed the QFT I think it’s a great technique to outline an assignment and get your thoughts running.” Online Discussion #5, Sec. 15, 03/12/21: “What do you think of the QFT?” “Using QFT has been super helpful. I usually get super critical with the questions I ask, even just to myself, so with QFT, writing down every question has been a breath of fresh air . . . QFT with group members is even more helpful because seeing their questions make me think even harder and brings up things I hadn't thought of. Group working with QFT has impacted it in a positive way. I can get their knowledge along with mine.” Online Discussion #5, Sec. 15, 03/12/21: “What do you think of the QFT?”
  19. 19. Student Feedback: Feedback Location: “I really enjoy the QFT technique in groups because I get to see my peers perspectives on the topic.” Online Discussion #5, Sec. 15, 03/12/21: “What do you think of the QFT?” “My experiences now that I implement the question formulation technique, make me want to research everything more in-depth and jot down questions before doing research on the topic. In the beginning, I had zero clues on what it meant and what was to expect. I honestly thought I was going to have a hard time understanding this method. . . . This technique will be such great usage when I have major research projects, assignments for school, or even in my everyday use. When working in a group, implementing QFT becomes very helpful because everyone has their own sets of questions that become very helpful to look into the topic.” Online Discussion #5, Sec. 12, 03/12/21: “What do you think of the QFT?”
  20. 20. Overall: Format Lesson Plan Student Engagement We really liked having an artifact that is completely foreign. Hopefully the artifact mimics the same feelings that new assignment prompts create and how the QFT can help overcome those feelings. We had enough time to conduct the lesson plan regardless of whether the class sessions were 50-minutes or one hour and fifteen minutes long. Students demonstrated high levels of engagement with the content of the artifact. Who knew first-year students from the Central Valley would be interested in textile manufacturing in the U.K.? It sometimes can be uncomfortable to admit you do not have the answers to their questions. It has been difficult to establish a consistent structure given the modality changes. Their questions offer insights into their ability to derive meaning, motivations, and interests. Group work remains paramount with introducing the QFT. From the time of the unit's inception, we have added a discussion post and adapted a post-session activity to reinforce the unit's purpose in the curriculum. We wonder whether students will practice this method beyond the unit. Everyday life topics to academic life topics anchor meaning as first-year students adjust to academia.
  21. 21. Modality: Online Hybrid In-person We saw no negative feedback nor any confusion over the session when conducted over Zoom and through Google Slides. Technological breakdowns can easily disrupt the lesson plan; the time it takes to bring the Zoom room up takes away from the total classroom time. We can monitor groups effortlessly in-person. Important! Breakout rooms were difficult to monitor when students were introduced to the QFT. It was difficult pivoting attention between students in the classroom and students in the Zoom room. While we began with physical handouts during the introduction, post-pandemic students have devices and the need for physical handouts is diminishing. Students struggled to identify open- and closed-ended questions on the paper handouts. Technological inequities surfaced the most during this modality, as students were on a wide range of devices with various internet connection speeds, requiring more time to assist students individually. The need for a collaborative work space is significant when students are attending a session either remotely or in-person but need to join together and conduct the QFT in groups. Students seemed most engaged with the unit during this modality. The ability to brainstorm together, in- person, and explore the commonalities between their questions garnered levels of engagement not seen online or hybrid.
  22. 22. Instruments: Qualtrics Google Slides The ability to embed Qualtrics in LibGuides rose views for the class guide and reinforced the purpose of the library class guide. Google Slides provided a collaborative work space for students to conduct the QFT together across modalities. Qualtrics is not an active learning tool, so there are some equity issues such as the inability to re-engage with the instrument from various devices or browser issues with embedded instruments and generating PDFs. Students seem to navigate Google Slides with ease – one of the possible effects of the Google ecosystem integrated in the K-12 education system in the United States. Qualtrics or other survey platforms seem more conducive to a singular learning experience. Early attempts to utilize Qualtrics with group work was clunky and took more time. Data collection for qualitative analysis is time consuming when gathering student input from slides. Data collection for qualitative analysis is easier with Qualtrics given the platform's ability to export data into multiple formats. Google Slides were not embedded in the library class guide, lessoning the impact the guide has in the classroom.
  23. 23. Association of College and Research Libraries. (2016). Framework for information literacy for higher education. http://www.ala.org/acrl/sites/ala.org.acrl/files/content/issues/infolit/Framework_ILHE.pdf California State University, Stanislaus. (2021). Accreditation & achievements. https://www.csustan.edu/about-stan-state/accreditation-achievements Council of Writing Program Administrators, National Council of Teachers of English, and National Writing Project. (2011). Framework for success in postsecondary writing. https://wpacouncil.org/aws/CWPA/asset_manager/get_file/350201?ver=7548 Hofer, A., Lin Hanick, S., & Townsend, L. (2019). Transforming information literacy instruction: Threshold concepts in theory and practice. Libraries Unlimited. Office of Institutional Effectiveness and Analytics. (n.d.). Admissions. California State University, Stanislaus. https://www.csustan.edu/iea/institutional-data/admissions Rothstein, D., & Santana, L. (2014). The right questions. Instruction That Sticks, 72(2). http://http://www.lansingschools.org/tfiles/folder1342/Question%20Formulation%20Technique%20Rothstein%20%26%20Santana%2C%202014.pdf Scharf, D., & Dera, J. (2021). Question formulation for information literacy: Theory and practice. The Journal of Academic Librarianship, 47(4). https://doi.org/10.1016/j.acalib.2021.102365
  24. 24. Kevin Augustine Research & Instruction Librarian California State University, Stanislaus Email: kaugustine@csustan.edu Telephone: 1209 664 6557 Twitter: @kraugs

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